By RYAN WICKER
Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman issued a consumer alert today for National Consumer Protection Week, reminding New Yorkers to protect themselves against recurring government “imposter” phone scams. These scams often target seniors, students, and first-generation Americans. The Attorney General’s office continues to see new versions of these scams reported by consumers. Earlier this week, the office issued the top ten consumer fraud complaints received by his office in 2015.
“Consumers should remain vigilant against unsolicited phone calls and should never provide sensitive personal information to individuals they do not know and trust,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “Fraudsters never rest—I urge all New Yorkers to be aware of these common phones scams, and to follow our tips in order to protect themselves.”
Recent scams include callers posing as a representative from the Attorney General’s office, the Internal Revenue Service or as officers of the court.
Consumers should not respond to these calls or letters. Legitimate government organizations will never threaten arrest or deportation for failure to pay a debt, and will never insist that consumers pay a debt only via a pre-paid credit card; Do not give out personal information, including your Social Security number or bank account information to telephone callers; If you owe money, you should receive a notice in writing that identifies the debt collection agency, the amount of the debt, and the name of the original creditor. The notice should also provide you with an opportunity to dispute the debt; A legitimate caller will never request that a conversation remain a secret, and you should immediately be suspicious. Whether the caller claims to be from the government, a bank, or a family member, requests for confidentiality should raise a red flag.
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